Wednesday November 26, 2014

Politics in hockey road block for talented players


Dear Editor

The Penticton Vees are the leading tier 2 junior hockey team in Canada today. Two of their best players are Bryce Gervais from North Battleford and Travis St. Denis from Trail, B.C. Check out the Vees webpage to see these players’ league leading points.

Gervais reminds me of Bob Gainey when he played for the Montreal Canadiens. The Russians said, "Gainey was the best two way player in the game.” I believe Gervais is the best two way player in the BCHL, perhaps even in all of Canada. What a thrill it is to watch him play the game..

Penticton is also blessed with many talented American boys. Several are from Minnesota. The three Reilly boys, all from the same family, really put on a show when they are on the ice. Penticton is going for gold. They picked up another high scoring player, Wade Murphy, a few days ago from the Victoria Grizzlies. Penticton could actually win the national championship this season. The Vees now have six players in the top seven of the BCHL and nine in the top 20.

If Bryce and Travis had played their minor hockey in the greater Calgary area (GCA) minor hockey system; as good as they are, they may have had to ride the bench while less talented players played the game. How could such a thing happen? Aren't the best players supposed to get the most ice time? The following actually happens in the GCA: the big oil money gets in the way of the more talented players.

On several occasions, a rich father will offer the coach season's tickets to the Calgary Flames if they play a less talented son, rather than the most talented players. Only the affected families are aware of this unfortunate behaviour. This disastrous practice finally gets the attention of the fans at tournaments. The public will ask the question, why are the better players not on the ice? On several occasions the “abuse" is embarrassing. Often the favoured players get their fanny handed to them on a platter by visiting teams who actually play their best players in tournaments.

The one way to clean up the GCA act would be for Don Cherry and Ron MacLean to investigate this despicable behaviour. The more talented GCA players require a solution to this unfairness. The families of those boys keep their mouths shut as they don't want to rock the boat. Some of their boys have been drafted and they don't want to bring unnecessary attention to themselves.

The unfairness hurts both the players and the fans: These young men are working their hearts out to make their respective teams, they should get every opportunity to have the scouts see their performance.

Ernie Slump

Penticton, B.C.



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